Six Nations Preview – Are Italy Still Sh*te?

You can’t go to the pub (yet), you can’t go to the stadium, so the only place you’ll be watching the Six Nations is in the comfort of your own home.

Think of the positives. You can get your rugby setup ready, sit back and relax, while enjoying what is expected to be yet another great Six Nations tournament.

All hope is not lost, however. The current review of fans being allowed to stadiums is still underway, so there is a chance, albeit a small chance, that fans could go and watch.

BBC and ITV will be hosting all of the tournament’s games anyway, so everyone should be able to watch every minute of every game live. Is there much else to do at the moment?

Who’s going to win the 2021 Six Nations?

six-nations-trophy

England are the bookie’s favourites heading into the highly-anticipated competition as current holders, just about beating France last year to the no.1 spot.

Meanwhile, Italy will be hoping they can turn things around and avoid a 0-5 record in the tournament, which was a really bad performance by them in truth.

The home nations will be looking to put on some strong performances on the pitch, with a British Lions tour scheduled for June of this year. Whether that happens with the continuous Covid-19 situation, who knows? But there’s optimism that it will go ahead.

Let’s take a look at what the Six Nations opening weekend has in store for us (spoiler: it’s going to be great).

England vs. Scotland – Here. We. Go.

england-vs-scotland

The opening weekend includes this attractive match right here – two rivals ready to lock horns. It’s the 150 year anniversary of the Calcutta Cup, so both teams will want a win.

England will want to start Scotland’s bid for another wooden spoon. There’s no doubt that yet another wooden spoon could be awarded to Scotland, which would total their spoons to 5 – just as many gold rings as there are at Christmas.

Meanwhile, the Scottish lot will want to cause an upset against their neighbours in the opening game, proving that they shouldn’t be overlooked this time around.

On Thursday, England announced their starting XV, and it’s a strong-looking line-up. Most notably, England captain Owen Farrell will start in his preferred 10 role, with Ollie Lawrence called on to play as inside centre. Fly-half George Ford will have to make his impact later on in the game, if he is brought on from the bench.

It should be a gruelling affair (as long as Scotland show up) so get ready for this physical battle. ITV at 4.45pm, be there.

Italy vs. France: A Continental Affair

italy-vs-france

The first game of the tournament, mid-afternoon on Saturday, we will get to watch Italy square up against France in what could be a really tight match.

Both teams will be looking to gain some early momentum, especially France who were within touching distance of the crown last year.

There must be something in the French waters recently, with the young pool of talent currently being recruited are looking to be the real-deal.

On the other hand, Italy will just be wanting a win. They didn’t get near one last year, so if they got one in the opening game, we’re sure they would be over the moon. The Italians definitely won’t want a sixth consecutive wooden spoon, either.

Their new strategy seems to be similar to their opponent’s previous game plans – trust in their youth. 19 year old scrum-half Stephen Varney will start the opener alongside no.10 Paolo Garbisi, who’s only age 20.

We could see some youth prospects exceed their potential in this one, and we could have some players to look out for in the rest of the tournament.

Wales vs. Ireland – Too Close to Call

ireland-vs-wales

The final game of the weekend pits the two celtic nations teams together in another exciting matchup. There’s a theme here, by the way – the Six Nations is such an entertaining competition and is every year, so there should be no questions like ‘will it even be exciting?’. It will be.

Before England’s victory last year, Wales and Ireland were the two previous tournament champions, and will be looking to bounce back and hopefully put their hands back on that crown.

It’s always a tight affair when these two go toe-to-toe, as they also go head-to-head and pretty much every-other-body-part-to-every-other-body-part.

It’s a very close game to call, but whoever wins this one will feel they have an important victory early on, and will put pressure on England for sure.

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